NASHIK: World Heart Day is celebrated every year on 29th September to generate awareness about Cardiovascular diseases among the citizens and promote steps for a healthy lifestyle. The theme of the year 2021 is ‘harnessing the power of digital health to improve awareness, prevention, and management of CVD globally.’
Our heart is the most important vital organ of our body as it supplies oxygenated blood, hormones, and other vital substances to other body parts. It maintains the body’s blood pressure and serves many functions to keep our body healthy. To prevent our bodies from damage, it is essential to take good care of our heart. Below mentioned are some of the tips one can use for a healthy heart and happy life.
1) Quit smoking and alcohol
The best thing one can do for their heart health is to quit smoking and alcohol. Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. Speaking of alcohol, let’s not forget that alcohol contains calories. Regular drinking can lead to a visible impact on the waistline. Excessive consumption can affect one’s heart health severely. The ones addicted to certain substances are requested to take professional guidance.
2) Exercise and manage weight
Get active and start working out at least four to five times a week. Working out doesn’t imply gyming and excessive burnout. Instead, a brisk walk for 30 to 40 minutes can do wonders. Apart from improving overall physical health, exercise has a significant effect on mental health too. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart diseases. Eat a balanced diet low in fat and sugar and filled with fruits and vegetables. Cut down on saturated fat as it can increase the cholesterol level in your blood.
3) Eat fish
Eat fish at least twice a week, including some meals of oily fish. Fish such as pilchards, sardines, and salmon contain omega-3 fats that help protect against heart disease. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctors in terms of quantity intake.
4) Read food label
While shopping, always look at the content labels on food and drinks to see how many calories, fat, salt, and sugar the product contains. Understanding the content and managing it with the rest of your diet will help you go places.
5) Manage stress
Managing stress can help prevent serious health problems like heart disease, depression, and high blood pressure. Deep breathing and meditation are good ways to relax during stressful situations or even otherwise.
These diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They include:
Coronary heart disease – a disease of blood vessels supplying the heart muscle.
Cerebrovascular disease – a disease of the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain.
Peripheral arterial disease – a disease of blood vessels supplying the arms & legs.
Rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria.
Congenital heart disease – birth defects that affect the normal development and functioning of the heart caused by malformations of the heart structure from birth.
Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.
Heart attacks and strokes are acute events; caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain.
*One of the important changes one needs to introduce in life for a healthy heart is a healthy lifestyle pattern. Shifting to healthy habits and increasing the intake of healthy food and drinks can do wonders.
*Substance abuse is a big no, as addiction to tobacco products and excessive alcohol drinking can increase the risk of heart diseases. Stay physically active by indulging oneself in physical activities like walking, cycling, swimming, gardening, or even day-today activities like climbing stairs, etc. Get up from the chair/ bed every two hours for a brisk walk or stretching to keep the body active.
*Reducing stress levels is a must for a healthy heart. I have written a book on Stress Management “Mind Your Stress”, which also speaks of various methods to manage stress. Time management, planning one’s day and life, and letting go of things help one lead a better life.
*Regular health checkups, especially when one turns 30, are essential. If one is suffering from diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol etc., monitoring one’s levels and regular medication with professional guidance proves fruitful.
-Dr. Suresh Suryawanshi, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Suryawanshi. Heart Care & Pioneer Hospital, Nashik.